31st Oct 2012 1:21pm | By Carol Driver
As Hurricane Sandy continues to batter New York and eastern US, Haiti is taking stock of the devastation caused by the superstorm.
The Caribbean country has been the worst-affected, recording the highest death toll so far, with at least 52 people dead, its civil protection office confirmed yesterday.
Some 200,000 people have been left homeless as the south and south-west were drenched by 50cm of rain in just four days. During the storm, nearly 17,800 people were forced to move to 131 temporary shelters.
Strong winds and torrential rain hit as the hurricane skimmed Haiti last week, destroying more than 70 per cent of crops and causing rivers to overflow, provoking warnings that it could lead to a rise in cholera.
The United Nations is planning an appeal for emergency aid for Haiti, where some 400,000 people still live in temporary camps after their homes were destroyed by the earthquake in 2010.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe called a "disaster of major proportions".
“Haiti is trying to get its house in order, but each time disaster strikes, the progress is interrupted," Johan Peleman, head of the UN's office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs, told the Guardian.
"This country is exposed to devastating consequences by each storm. With every burst of rain, entire mountains are washed away."
It comes as humanitarian funding fell from $2bn (£1.2bn) after the earthquake in 2010 to just $75m this year.
Hurricane Sandy has now been blamed for 69 deaths in the Caribbean:
Cuba: 11 people, including an infant, died in the storm, which destroyed 15,000 and damaged a further 130,000.
Jamaica: One elderly man was crushed by a boulder. Farms have been destroyed and roofs ripped off houses in shantytowns.
Bahamas: Two people were killed.
Dominican Republic: Two men were killed while trying to cross a river. Nearly 30,000 people were evacuated due to widespread flooding in the south of the country, including parts of the capital.
Puerto Rico: One man died after being swept away in a rain-swollen river.
Norman Girvan, former secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States, hit out at the lack of media attention given to the Caribbean as the storm hits the east coast of America.
“We should look at the Caribbean, because the hurricane has had an impact on Jamaica and Cuba and Hait,” he said.
“One would like to see some form of Caricom [Caribbean Community] response to the severe infrastructural damage and human damage done in these countries, which unfortunately does not attract as much media attention as that in the US,” he told The Guardian.
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